Autoimmune Thyroid Disease

An Unfortunate and Lengthy Adventure in Misdiagnosis

Blue smarties and the cocktail effect

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A subject Sue Dengate got excited about recently was the issue of Nestlé dropping blue smarties in the UK. I had no idea what study had caused this turnaround. This is copied from the Soil Association’s consumer site,, which requires a login:

Blue Smarties are dropped shortly after research into the toxic ‘cocktail of additives’ in childrens’ foods

On 8 March the Soil Association presented the results of a three-year study, on the effects of combining four common food additives, to the offices of Rt. Hon Patricia Hewitt MP, the Secretary of State for Health. The research suggests that specific combinations can have a neurotoxic effect.

The researchers at the University of Liverpool examined the toxic effects on nerve cells by using a combination of the following four common food additives:

  • E133 Brilliant Blue with E621 monosodium glutamate (MSG) and
  • E104 Quinoline Yellow with E951 L-aspartyl-L-phenylalanine methyl ester.

The mixtures of the additives had a much more potent effect on nerve cells than each additive on its own. The effect on cells was up to four times greater when Brilliant Blue and MSG were combined, and up to seven times greater when Quinoline Yellow and Aspartame were combined.

The study shows that when the nerve cells were exposed to MSG and Brilliant Blue or Aspartame and Quinoline Yellow the additives stopped the nerve cells from normal growth and interfered with proper signalling systems.

The experiments were done in laboratory conditions and the additives were combined in concentrations that theoretically reflect the compound that enters the bloodstream after a typical children’s snack and drink.

Shortly after this research was published, Nestlé Rowntree dropped their blue Smartie. National newspapers covered the story, including the Daily Mail

This marks the start of a campaign from the Soil Association and Organix Brands who are calling for the additives in question to be removed from food. The Soil Association has identified 30 foods currently marketed to children, which include the four additives studied and are writing to the manufacturers as well as the Food Standards Agency with a call for an immediate response to this report.

Lizzie Vann, MBE, founder of Organix Brands, said, “Many parents of sensitive children know that food additives are a problem. In processed foods like sweets and snacks they are typically present in combinations. Many parenting and campaigning groups have been calling for stricter regulation and more caution to be taken with additives. At last, the scientific support for their suspicions is beginning to appear.”

Peter Melchett, Soil Association, Policy Director said, “Organix Brands and the Soil Association have identified 30 foods marketed to children, which use the four additives studied. We have written to the manufacturers, as well as to the Food Standards Agency calling for urgent action on these findings. This marks the start of a joint campaign from the Soil Association and Organix Brands, who are calling for the additives in question to be removed from all foods.”

It seems that additives don’t just produce bad behaviour and ADHD, they also result in brain damage. I wonder how many blue smarties it takes to lower your child’s IQ by one point?


Written by alienrobotgirl

1 June, 2006 at 12:53 pm

Posted in The Science of FCI

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